HOMOCORE 1988-1991

and somewhat, Shred of Dignity Skaters' Union

Tom Jennings, 5 August 2008
Tom Jennings, 26 January 2000

Below are all issues of HOMOCORE zine, from #1 through #7, except for issue #5-1/2, the BAD POETRY ISSUE, because it's 2 feet by 3 feet huge and I have no idea how to scan it.

HOMOCORE was in many ways separate from Shred of Dignity Skaters' Union, but in San Francisco, and in my (and our) daily lives, they were pretty much integrated. There is a very old summary of Shred's Shipley Street warehouse. Spurred by a slight external interest in these things, and a personal desire to get rid of some moldy old crap, I was compelled to rip some old cassette tapes that I made in the late 1980's. Otherwise I don't have a lot of original source material saved from that time. Someone else will have to cover that stuff.

From 1988 to 1991 I was the editor of HOMOCORE zine, along with Deke Motif Nihilson. Though we were San Francisco-based HOMOCORE was distributed quite widely. It was sort of a big deal for a while; now no one remembers it. Me and Deke kinda engineered and messed with a queer/punk hybrid thing, based upon anarchist principles, discordian silliness, distaste for de-facto-separatist gay culture, and a burning desire to get laid. (I guess it worked. I met Josh in 1992 and we're still together.) PS: the people in Chicago didn't invent 'homocore'; Bruce La Bruce and GB Jones (JD's; Toronto, Canada) did, and I stolt it frum them first.

I did HC#1 after I got back from the 1988 Anarchist Survival Gathering in Toronto (some info here), fully revved up from the event; I'd been hanging out with the literary anarcho crowd at Bound Together Books collective (San Francisco), mainly Joey Cain, and decided to attend at Joey's suggestion. No one had any idea that it was going to be such a charged event for queer people -- the turnout was spontaneously 1/3rd queer. While a few dozen hetero boys righteously turned over newspaper boxes and 'confronted' the police downtown, hundreds of queer girls and boys were doing what any sensible person does -- network!

Another major impetus for HOMOCORE was MAXIMUMROCKNROLL, the ponderous nightmare of all punkzines. It had an incredibly active letters column, and queer punks wrote in, and were usually marginalized, but to MRRs credit, they were not actively discouraged (eg. no fag-bashing from the staff). This was a major good thing, though it sounds slight.

I met Deke Motif Nihilson there; he was still living in Kansas City MO but would shortly move to San Francisco. I also met Bruce La Bruce, infamous queer punk zinester and soon to be art/smut/pornographer/famous filmmaker.

Anyways. HC#1 was pretty thin, as most first zines go, though I had a pile of letters by the second issue three months later, none of which were from San Fran. I'd advertized in MRR, and the floodgates opened.

I didn't keep good records, but some 500 copies of HC#1 and #2 we produced the first year, with reprints sporadically. #3 was at least 1000, the minimum run for newsprint from a real press (#1 and #2 were xeroxed). I know by #5 we were doing 2000 copies each, and I think the minimum 1000 copies of 5-1/2. (The BAD POETRY issue hardly sold; we ended up giving and throwing away many hundreds.)

By issue #6 things were getting heavy; gross was probably $4000 per issue, most of it in $1 bills. There were umm no records kept. Printing cost was handled by a half-assed projection of income plus em fronting my rent money. I pre-sold issues of the next-issue in the current-issue, and when the money came, I'd make up a brown envelope with the persons name on it, and any notes, answered letters, etc already stuffed in it. When the print run came back we'd stuff the envelopes, buy or umm recover postage (first class, no bulk here) and dump 'em on the Postal Service. I ran a tight ship, we always broke even, gave away free issues and other stuff when we had extra cash, and always bought burritos for the shit-workers.

By #6 the psychic load was getting heavy too; we were becoming the sole source of support for a lot of really fucked-up, isolated, damaged kids. The horrible things parents did to their kids is depressing; and I can imagine it's only worse today, what with all the police/drug culture and lack of creatively subversive culture (2000).

Issue #7 came out after a long delay; I was getting burned out, and I believe so was Deke. We decided to make it a pretty corpse and quit while we were ahead. I think the timing was good; when we started there was nearly nothing queer/punk; by issue #7 there were many. I'm sure we spawned a lot of them directly, but also the timing was good for a number of reasons, not all obscure.

If anyone has anything to contribute to this story I'll gladly include it or link to it.

The zines are stored as JPEG images of each page, recorded at 150 dpi. This makes the files unfortunately large, about 400K - 600K each, but any less loses too much information. They look just fine printed out on paper.